Glad To Be Human Update: Due to an unforeseen publishing delay and my forthcoming annual writing retreat, we must all un-bate our breaths and wait for the e-version of my essay until some time after my return. I trust the passage of time won’t compromise the spirit of the piece; still, I thank you for your patience.
To listen to this post, please click here:A Personal Holiday Tradition
So many words, so many details, so many packages, so much food, so much laughter, so much love. What can be added, the day after Christmas? Here, a brief reflection, occasioned by a favorite ornament.
This glitterworn angel has graced every Christmas I remember. I never heard her her story, but perhaps it goes like this:
My frosty-breathed parents, taking in the holiday lights on a freezing Midwest night. One hand securing his fedora, Dad slides his other arm through Mom’s. She wears the big-collared green coat she loved so well. (He pulled me to him by that collar and said,”Betty, we’re getting married!”)
There, in a thirties’ shopwindow, perched this little musician on her shiny star. Dad goes back the next day for it, surprises Mom on Christmas morning with this happy hint of the children they long for.
The angel takes her Christmas place as their babies are born, ornaments four lonely-needled trees in a row while my father is at war. In the stylish fifties, she could have looked cornball, but instead retained her charm. Jetson-era, while I made jazzy silver-sprayed table-trees of styrofoam balls and toothpicks, she was not threatened in the least. Other ornaments came and shattered or aged poorly, but high in the branches or low, hung to the front, or hung to the back, she hung on.
When Dad passed and Mom sold the house, I retrieved this little Ghost of Christmas Plastic from the estate sale box. For some years, she hung year-round as part of a wall grouping I made with an old parasol and some sheet music.
Eventually she went back to her seasonal appearance. And perhaps it was she who inspired me some years ago to begin a personal holiday tradition.
When it comes time to trim the tree, we make a point to give thanks for a special blessing with every ornament we hang. There are always new blessings to give thanks for—creative efforts, new friends, trips and so on–but certain ornaments evoke specific thanks each year. The red cardinal is always for John’s Mom. The seashell strung with golden rickrack hangs for coastal friends. And this little angel always seems to sum up the season’s best and oldest truths. I hang her here today, in thanks for you.
What’s your personal holiday tradition?